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Independent.ie

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Ploughing queen Anna May shows no signs of stopping

Anna May McHugh at Eason on O’Connell Street with fan Derry O’Donovan. Photo: Donall Farmer
Anna May McHugh at Eason on O’Connell Street with fan Derry O’Donovan. Photo: Donall Farmer

Claire Fox

While the popularity of the National Ploughing Championships shows no signs of stopping, neither does Anna May McHugh, who has been at the helm of the event for 44 years.

Mrs McHugh (83) told the Irish Independent that she had no plans to retire from her role as managing director of the three-day event, which is set to return to Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly, next week.

"I'm in good health at the moment thank God, and unless that changes I'll still be doing my job for the next few years.

"I really love it. I love the challenge of it.

"I'll be around for another while," said the organiser who recently released her book, titled 'Queen of the Ploughing'.

Having attracted record crowds of 283,000 to the Screggan site in 2016, she believes that this year will be just as successful if ticket sales are anything to go by.

"Ticket sales are tremendous. The demand is huge. It's not just a national stage for showcasing all things agriculture.

"It attracts both rural and urban people. It's a safe place in the heart of the Irish countryside.

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"People enjoy the fresh air and the different stands," said Mrs McHugh.

With showery weather on the cards, Mrs McHugh added she feels no weather conditions will be as bad as the 1965 Ploughing, which was postponed due to snow.

"I'd be worried if we got snow at this time of year.

"The 1965 Ploughing was held in November. We postponed it until the following week," she added.

Irish Independent



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